When I was 10, my fifth grade teacher told me use my brain, to push harder, to go higher. I never doubted her, because they told me it was possible.
When I was 18, I planned a career in journalism, exposing stories of injustice. I assumed I would be paid the same any male colleague, because they told me it was possible.
Yet there were days and years in between in which I came to understand that in the real world, possible is very different from guaranteed. For so many of us, the possibilities given to those 8, 10, 18-year-olds turned out to be nothing more than lip-service, because our country was not set up for the possibles, let alone guarantees.
When I was in my early 20s, I watched Hillary Clinton enter the public stage. A woman who had been educated at a time when the seeds of those possibilities were being sown. A woman who came into the public eye with her own successful career. A woman who set off a maelstrom of controversy because of a comment about not wanting to stay home and bake cookies.
And there are those who still haven’t forgiven her for it.
You see, Hillary and the women of my generation, we did what they said. We played the game with the boys. Not our own game, but theirs. We played down and dirty. We wore shoulder pads, we busted balls, we often sacrificed our fertility in the process..because we were told it was possible. But the lives we were living proved otherwise.
We witnessed fight after fight to strip us of our right to control our own bodies. We were passed over for promotions, made to choose between a career and a family, vilified for making one choice or the other. We couldn’t even agree on baking cookies. Many times we were our own worst enemy, attacking each other with a volume to shatter wine glasses if not glass ceilings.
But you, you gorgeous young women who have grown up never doubting a woman could be president of the United States of America, please understand we have doubted it. And so I ask you to allow us this moment.
You may notice a lot of women over the age of 45 getting sappy, crying at what has recently come to pass. We are crying the tears of our grandmother suffragettes, our bra-burning mothers, our board-room bitch peers. And we are crying for you too, because we are one step further away from possible and one step closer to guaranteed.
So I ask you young women, please allow us this moment.
Nothing–nothing–makes me prouder than watching a generation of young women take gender equality, LGBTQ equality as part and parcel of their lives. Women who expect equal pay, bodily autonomy as a given right. Nothing makes me prouder than hearing how the local high school I attended has a gay/lesbian/transgender club for teens. Nothing makes me prouder than listening to today’s young women campaign passionately for further progress because they have been told it is possible..and it is.
But I ask you to allow us this moment to bask in what we were told was possible, but was never guaranteed, for all those days and months and years in between.
Allow us this moment of shine.
We are a generation that was promised a glass ceiling but often got a glass slipper as a consolation prize.
So allow us a moment while we listen to the crack in that glass echo around us.
And stand with us to break it once and for all, as we will stand with you on the other side, watching you soar.